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Front runner in reducing emissions


Boluda Towage Europe has made considerable investments in reducing emissions from harbour tugs to cut pollution in ports. We reduced the environmental footprint of our tugboat fleet by investing in hybrid propulsion and complying with IMO Tier III emissions requirements.


As the leader of the pack, Boluda Towage sees it as its responsibility to actively come up with solutions for waste and energy efficient engine use. Our most tangible commitment to the environment and emissions reduction, are our three hybrid tugs and six IMO Tier-II tugs.


Next to these sustainable achievements, Boluda Towage studies more low-emission projects. In the long term, hydrogen could be the best zero-emissions fuel, but it comes with challenges.






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Hybrid tugs


It was one of the first to operate harbour tugs with hybrid propulsion, starting in 2012 with Rotortug RT Adriaan (now named VB Kracht), followed by two more hybrid propulsion Rotortugs in 2015, the RT Evolution and RT Emotion, the second generation of hybrid propulsion on tugs with the delivery of advanced Rotortugs built to ART 80-32 design.


Thanks to their batteries and electric motors, the hybrid tugs are sailing very efficiently and eco-friendly, delivering fuel savings and optimizing working conditions for the crew. It is also safer for the crew as there are fewer emissions and lower noise.


The benefits of hybrid propulsion include “reduced emissions, lower fuel use, maintenance savings, noise reduction, and a safe & healthy workplace”. The ART 80-32 design tugs with hybrid propulsion have 35% less particulate matter, 36% fewer unburnt hydrocarbons, 32% lower NOx and 35% less CO2.

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clean & Simple











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IMO Tier III tugs


Boluda has become an innovator in another emissions-reduction technology, by ordering new tugs with IMO Tier III compliance and retrofitting existing tugs.


In January 2020, Boluda Towage became the first global towage provider to successfully retrofit the tugboat Union Koala to comply with IMO tier III standards, by installing SCRs. A success that demonstrates our commitment to a more sustainable future and continuous innovation. In the same year, the second tug “Union Panda” was converted to IMO Tier III standards as well.


Boluda Towage worked with Anglo Belgian Corp (ABC) and Flanders Ship Repair to upgrade the propulsion on the tug Union Koala, which had enough available engine room space for the SCR installation.


"Putting an elephant in a shoe-box"


Tugs need sufficient space in the engine room to accommodate urea storage tanks, dosing pumps, stainless-steel piping, mixing chambers, and the SCR reactors. Inside ECAs, tugs either need to use a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) exhaust gas after-treatment system or another removal technology. SCR systems process exhaust gases, removing NOx through a catalytic reaction using a reductant, usually, a urea solution, which emits nitrogen and water.


And in 2021, Boluda Towage has taken four newly-built Damen tugs, the “VB BOLERO, VB RUMBA, VB FLANDES and VB SAMBA”, into service in the Port of Zeebrugge. These tugs are complying with the most recent IMO Tier-III emissions requirements and are certified with the highest fire-fighting standards.


"Zeebrugge is the only port with an entirely green fleet"


All six tugs are operating in the Port of Zeebrugge, and thanks to these sustainable investments, Zeebrugge is the only port with an entirely green fleet. These projects yield environmental benefits as NOx emissions are cut by at least 80% per tug. Emissions reduction on a yearly basis for the entire fleet of six tugs in Zeebrugge, all complying with Tier III, is 353 tonnes.

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